May 4, 2020  |  News & Events, Provost's Monday Updates, Timely Announcements

Good afternoon, colleagues. Here is this week’s update from Academic Affairs.


Konstantin Sobolev, Nikolai Kouklin, Michael Nosonovsky (Engineering), and David Frick (Chemistry) received a $198, 326 NSF COVID-19 RAPID grant to design and test coatings that could be applied to surfaces to both repel and deactivate virus-laden droplets. Congratulations, Konstantin, Nikolai, Michael, and David!

Colleen Galambos (Social Welfare) was invited by the National Academy of Medicine to be a co-author for the Vital Directions project with the National Academy of Medicine. Vital Directions has been used in the past to guide the U.S. Administration on policies for health and healthcare. This new initiative will assess and identify key trends in the country’s current experience with COVID-19. Well done, Colleen!

Ionel Popa (Physics), SURF students Marina Slawinski and Daniel Collison, and post-doc Luai Khoury had their work on developing “soft robots” that resemble biological muscles published in Science AdvancesCongratulations, Ionel, Marina, Daniel, and Luai!

Mike Pauers (Biological Sciences, Waukesha) and his SURF student Jacob Grudnowski co-authored an article that was accepted for publication in the Journal of Fish Biology. Well done, Mike and Jacob!

Amanda Braun (Athletics) was listed among the BizTimes Notable LGBTQ ExecutivesCongratulations, Amanda!

For the fourth consecutive year, Peck School of the Arts’ Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres was recognized in the 2020 edition of Variety Magazine’s “Top Film Schools Around the Globe.” Kudos to faculty, staff, and students!

Alvaro Saar Rios’s (Theatre) was included in The Kennedy Center’s “Play at Home” project, which published new commissions from 18 theatre artists. His play, “Yellowfish: A True Tale About the Luckiest Young Pirate in the World,” is now online and ready to be staged in homes across the U.S. Congratulations, Alvaro, on your first pirate play!

In the News

Tanya Joosten (Academic Affairs) was mentioned in a Chronicle article about telecommuting.

Kristen Murphy (Chemistry) was interviewed in her capacity as the ACS Exams Director by Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN).

The team at the UWM Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research were interviewed by the Milwaukee Courier about one of the new volunteer programs where UWM students, faculty, staff, and their families have begun exchanging letters with local older adults.

Sabbatical guidelines

The COVID-19 pandemic may have led to a disruption of faculty sabbatical activities in the period between March 15 and the end of the spring 2020 semester. After consulting with the University Committee and UW System, a set of guidelines have been developed in support of those faculty that have been negatively impacted.

Milwaukee Athletics

The Milwaukee Athletic Department has announced the “Gold Access Pass” as a new mobile ticketing option for fans in the upcoming 2020-21 men’s basketball season.

The Week


I start the week with my daily Crisis Management Team (CMT) Leadership meeting, followed by my weekly meeting with Robin Van Harpen, my monthly meeting with Michael Doylen, test-runs of our upcoming Town Hall meetings (these town hall meetings will be with our students and parents), the Chancellor’s Executive Staff meeting, my weekly staff meeting, my one-one-one with Dave Clark, and I end the day with my daily meeting with Dev Venugopalan and Laura Pedrick.


In the morning, I have another CMT Leadership meeting, a TechEd Frontiers meeting, an Enrollment Management update with Dave Clark and Kay Eilers, and my monthly meeting with Nancy Nelson. In the afternoon, I have a University Committee meeting, I’ll join the Chancellor and others for a student-focused Town Hall presentation, I have my weekly meeting with the Chancellor, and my daily meeting with Dev and Laura.


Once again, I start the day with the CMT Leadership meeting. I will then meet with the deans and shared governance leads, followed by my monthly meetings with Tom Lipinski, Leigh Wallace, and Nancy Frank, my weekly UW System Provosts teleconference, and I’ll join the Chancellor and others for a parent-focused Town Hall meeting.


In the morning, I have another CMT Leadership meeting, a Campus Budget Planning meeting, my monthly meeting with Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska, and my standing meeting with Val Klump and Tim Grundl. In the afternoon, I will attend the Faculty Senate and my daily meeting with Dev and Laura.


Today, I have the final CMT Leadership meeting for the week, and my monthly meetings with Scott Gronert, Kim Litwack, Kaushal Chari, Simon Bronner, Mark Harris, and Alan Shoho. I close another busy week with my daily meeting with Dev and Laura.


End of Semester Memo

My end of semester memo is online.

From the UWM Honors College

The UWM Honors College asks for your help in celebrating the Honors College graduates this Saturday, May 9, 2020. Please post a message on any social media platform using the hashtags #uwmhonorsgrads and #UWM to congratulate our graduates, who come from every one of the UWM undergraduate schools and colleges. We will be posting a video tribute at 9 a.m. and would love to see your messages any time after that. Thank you for all of the support for our students and all that you do to support them.

New App for Visually Impaired

UWM Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) recently received a grant from the Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired and used the funds to secure access to Aira, a service that provides instant, visual access to the surrounding environment for people who are visually impaired. Aira will be available through an app beginning September 2020, making UWM the first Wisconsin university to provide this service. View how one student uses Aira to navigate a campus or read more about Aira on their website.

Mask Up MKE

As part of United Way’s Mask Up MKE campaign, the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research has received 700 masks to be assembled for healthcare providers and other essential service providers in Milwaukee. Each volunteer would need to assemble a minimum of 50 masks. Instructions will be provided. If interested, click here or contact Zachary Garrity (

From UWM Libraries

Due to escalating costs of journals and databases, the UWM Libraries must undertake a cancellation review process for 2020-2021. They are seeking help from the campus community by reviewing titles and identifying whose cancellation will do the least harm. More information.

Teams Tip

Using @Mentions.


The world’s loneliest tree . . . .

Take care,


Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs